Originally Posted by Robert Z
I re-read the thread, and honestly... jacking the thread just a little... I'm more interested about inflatable mattresses...
A cheap tent with a tarp (and some para cord) will get you by in many situations, but a cheap mattress (or crappy one) and you're not sleeping, regardless of the quality of tent...
I've got some ideas about motorcycle camping setups I'm looking forward to trying when I hit the PACNW in a month(ish)... but figure I'd better start a little closer to comfortable. I've got a comfortable enough sleeping bag, but the ground support is rather lacking.
When I'm on a scooter trip I always sleep better in my tent than I do in most hotel beds. The main reason I can say that is because of my sleeping bag/mattress combo and how they work together. I know I'm starting to sound like a Big Agnes fanboi but they make bags with a pocket that the air mattress slides into and that has a really big advantage - no more rolling off your pad/mattress - and to a lesser degree, the advantage is that as you toss and turn in your bag at night, there's no extraneous noises that sound like you're making balloon animals at 2am. The sleeping bag goes in a compressible dry sack and gets down to a packed size much smaller than a stuff sack and the air mattress rolls up and stores in a space about the size of a can of tennis balls. The final element of this great night's sleep is my inflatable memory foam covered pillow that fits in a pocket of the sleeping bag for a pillow cover. That pillow packs up about the size of a softball but when opened up and partially inflated makes for one of the best pillows I've ever slept upon.
Oh, and the trick to the mattress and the pillow I learned from fussing with an Air Hawk seat cushion. Proper inflation for the mattress is way less than fully inflated. I put enough air into it so that if I kneel on it or sit on it, I'm sitting hard on the ground. But when I lay down, it cradles me in a soft pillow of air that floats me and forms to my body instead. If you fully inflate the air mattress, you might as well sleep on a picnic table - it's that freakin' hard.
I'll look around for some links and post'em up later.
EDIT: The Big Agness Q-Core is my mattress pad: